Saturday, January 29, 2011

Judge ye not?

I have just made a discovery or maybe I just woke up. A burst of light. A gasp of breath. I was awake. 

As much as I think labels are used entirely too much, I am about to label myself. Agnostic/atheist?  This is not a new discovery. I can't make myself believe in a boat big enough to hold two of all, walking on water or someone whose decisions are quoted to me as being for the best. Supposedly, the child that has died was attributed to a god calling that child to heaven and he has his reasons. All good things are attributed to 'him' while the sorrowful events are 'his will and he has good reasons.'  Of course we aren't supposed to question his reasons. I have  a problem with anybody that denies me questioning.
I had to explain some of my decisions I made to my daughter. She asked. I felt she deserved a reason on why she was denied.

 "No, you can't go to that drug party." "Drugs are bad for your brain. Just look at me!"  or

"No, if he has a prison return address, you are not allowed to have a relationship with him. A felony is not a good thing."

See what I mean? An explanation and one that didn't involved smoke and mirrors.

Now, let's see. Where was I?

Oh, yeah.  My discovery. I read other people's blogs. I have my regulars that I read. I started reading them not knowing how they felt related to religion. I read them because they were entertaining. I read them because they offered some insight. Because they could post a string of sentences together to form paragraphs which gathered themselves into stories. It was only after reading these bloggers that I realized that most of the ones that were on my blog list had one thing in common. Either they were agnostics or atheists.
Their blogs weren't about religion. Seldom was their lack of faith mentioned. Occasionally a post by these bloggers, as the one I was reading this evening, was talking about psychics. In the course of his post, he mentioned that he wasn't a believer in the supernatural. He was an atheist. Boom! There it was. Another of my favorite bloggers, a disbeliever in the supernatural. I have read this blogger for over a year and this was never mentioned until tonight.

From all professions, I seem to brush up against them. A common thread among them is their acceptance of others. 

The faithful might find this difficult to comprehend. A dry acceptance of others. I won't list these bloggers but only because their blogs aren't a testament to what they believe or disbelieve. It flits through occasionally if it's relevant to the stories they tell. 

Supernatural? A sociology course that was a requirement during my college days, was most interesting. A few days into the course, the professor asked for a show of hands of everyone that did not believe in the supernatural. My hand shot into the air along with most of the class.  His next question "Now show me how many of you believe in god?" and again most of the class raised their hands. I sat with hands folded in my lap. 
His next remark caused an uproar. "You cannot deny the supernatural and still believe in god."
It was riot time in the classroom. He let the masses roar. I sat quietly waiting.

He explained. "Have you seen god?" "Can you prove he existed?" "Your believe is based on something you haven't seen or heard."  What is your definition of the supernatural?"

This was from a devout instructor. He was not an atheist nor an agnostic. He was a believer along with most of this class. He believed without explanation. He accepted blind faith. I have never forgotten this instructor. He presented this class with a view alien to them in an attempt at explaining  acceptance of others. I don't know how many of these students got "the message".  "Go forth and accept. It is not your job to judge."

This course ranked right up there as one of my all time favorites. It only got better as the year progressed. He presented social problems that conflicted with his own beliefs. Class discussions were loud. I've heard people talk about how boring their Sociology classes were. I'm ever grateful I didn't have that class with them.

I can hear the silent roar of disapproval from  some that stop by to read this. I can also hear the acceptance by those who accept without judgement. You are my friend.

About Town

It just took me a while to get started this morning. I sipped my coffee, messed around on the laptop and kept an eye on Egypt.
I'm watching the turmoil there and I'm pretty sure I'll never get the husband to take me to see the pyramids. I just ripped up my bucket list and tossed it in the trash can. Of course it missed it's mark. I hauled myself up and cleaned up that mess and headed for the shower.
It's a strange sort of day. Temperature are sneaking up on 70 degrees but it is not a comfortable day. The clouds have blocked out the sun and there is a  mild breeze and it just feels cold.

We decided to go for a ride. There are plenty of areas here to investigate; new places being built everyday. Early on, we decided to stop at the Community Coffee House for a little caffeine jolt. For those that are not from this area, Community Coffee is a brand of coffee sold here and one that garners much loyalty from those raised here.

The parking lot was crowded, bikes were locked into the bike racks and the drive through window was keeping the barrister busy. I have to say, I like coffee shops.
We entered through the main entrance and directly to the left was a row of windows waist high, and a ledge running along the wall with bar stools occupied by students. Calculators and loose leaf notebooks were spread out with drawings of triangles and long rows of calculations. I almost broke into a sweat just looking at those pages. Farther down, another student was huddled over her book oblivious to everyone.

The tables arranged in rows across the coffee shop sprouted laptops, more calculators and students. A chemistry book closed and pronouncing it's former status as "USED" rested beside the young girls laptop. She alternately entered numbers into her calculator or picked up her iPhone and fingers flying, sent her text message off.

Some of these  students were fresh faced and young, while others showed some gray hairs haloing their faces. Hair worn  short, or long hair drawn back and tied close to the nape of their neck, the men were seriously studying on this Saturday afternoon. Most of the females were young. All of them were busy. This wasn't a social afternoon.

We took our coffees and headed to the patio.

Our travels wound around the outskirts of town and down streets and though housing developments that have sprouted in the recent past. We made a drive by Chandra Rubin's house or what is left of it. She is the tennis pro from Lafayette.  Shortly after Christmas, her beautiful home in River Ranch was struck by lightning. From a distance, the towering roof could be seen with it's charred beams exposed. A security guard patrolled the yard, his vehicle parked between the gated entrance. 

River Ranch is a city within a city. It offers tennis courts, restaurants, banks and dry cleaners along with clothing stores and all built to resemble a French town. The streets are narrow and winding. Flowers fill pots hanging off wrought iron balconies. Quaint.  The fire trucks responding to the fire at Ms. Rubins' house discovered that these picturesque streets, narrow and winding only hampered their efforts to guide those big trucks to her house. River Ranch is now rethinking their building standards.

I'm home again and while the washer is making clean with the laundry, I type this story about nothing. It's a good day to type and a good day to do nothing.

I'm still watching the news reports from the Middle East. 

To Pack or Not to Pack

I suppose the correct thing to say is "do I repack?" as I usually aways have a suitcase partially packed.

I'm trying to decide if I want to spend two days traveling and then  an unknown amount of days in Dulce, New Mexico.
This little village is 100 miles from Farmington and boasts a hotel/casino where we would be staying. The husband will be working on the Apache Nation reservation. The rig will actually be set up on the land belonging to the reservation so this has strict perimeters and restrictions. He just received via UPS a packet containing the sticker that will have to be displayed in his truck window to get onto the site.

We will have to leave early so he can get a pictured ID from the BIA in Dulce.

When I thought our destination would be Sante Fe, I had one foot in the truck and ready to roll. As time passed and more information was obtained, my excitement dwindled. Not to insult any residents of Dulce, you are not Sante Fe and unfortunately, you are too far away to make the walk. Walking and bike riding is not encouraged. We actually read this from some information from the tourist industry on the web. The reason?  The rate of drunk drivers in this part of New Mexico rates among the highest in the nation and I thought where I lived now held that distinction. But then again, it said rates "among the highest" so I'm surmising we are still in that golden ring of inebriated party folk. 

Decisions, decisions! The only decision I am sure of right now is the shower I'm going to enjoy and a bike ride a little later this day.
I'm gone!

Friday, January 28, 2011

It's Not Saturday. I've been confused all week!

25 yrs ago today, I can tell you exactly where I was. I think the day was a Monday and since the ski slope was closed on Mondays, I was working my "one day a week" job. If not for the closed schedule of that ski area, I would have been sailing down a run instead of sitting at a desk in Casper, Wyoming  with a typewriter beneath my fingers. was pre computer days and we thought using an IBM Selectric was the sign of having reached the highest pinnacle of technology. I loved the sound of the keys striking that roller. I like the solid feel of the keyboard. I didn't like the effort needed to make corrections. Word processing changed my life.
The boss's office was to my right and he was "out" for the day. The large TV was tuned to a news station and as I worked, one ear stayed tuned to what was being said on the network.
The shuttle was being launched. The Challenger was on countdown and I paused to turn to look at the television. A direct line, exhaust streaming from the lower part, the shuttle was powering it's way out of the atmosphere. I watched as that straight line was interrupted, it pitched to one side and disappeared in a ball of flame.
Stunned, I sat in silence. The same silence had engulfed the launch pad's control room. Everyone in the office silently gathered in front of that television and I still remember how quiet we were. There wasn't any chatter or questions. We waited in silence though we knew there was no hope of survivors. In the days that followed, we heard about the lives of the astronauts that were on board. The investigation of the accident was in progress. Films were being studied and later when the faulty "o" ring was blamed, we digested this information. This small part that was a mere pennies in cost had caused the loss of the lives of the crew and the billions of dollars invested in this mission. At least it was quick.
The next shuttle explosion, we were spending the night in Dallas, Texas. February 1, 2003.  We packed out clothes back into our suitcases and walked out of the Holiday Inn to the truck. As we pulled out of the parking lot, the news came of the  Columbia shuttle  exploding on reentry. The radio was warning of parts of that shuttle coming to ground in the Dallas area. As we rolled down the interstate, I couldn't help but watch the sky for parts of the broken shuttle. Days later, parts of the shuttle were recovered around Dallas, TX., Tyler, TX. and Louisiana. We were driving directly into the paths of the debris field. My imagination was in overdrive. I imagined a big hot chunk of metal spearing the cab of the truck impaling us to our seats. The cruise control would keep the  speed constant until the truck missed a curve and like two dolls secured by huge stick pins, we would be found among the wreckage of the Columbia parts,another casualty that would be overshadowed by the broadcasts of the lost lives of the astronauts.

I stayed nervous the remainder of that trip.

I'm outta here to get a shower and dressed. The temperatures are promised to be 68 degrees. I plan to spend some time outside. I have a reclining chair that will make the perfect place to observe all the yard work the hubby plans on doing today.
I'm done!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Two Margaritas

It was a nice break from routine. We spent the afternoon at a casino. The husband headed for the blackjack tables while I wandered around the casino catching up on some much needed people watching. I passed out large smiles to everyone that made eye contact. I love watching people's reactions to a big smile. Most of the time, they smile back.

Eventually I found myself in the general area of where the husband was playing. I'm a cheapskate and one with out enough nerve to sit at the tables. I whine when the dealer reaches out and wraps his or her hand around my chips and rakes them to his side of the table. That money could have been spent for a bottle of nail polish, a haircut, a new shirt or a pair of shoes. Of course this is after thoughts so I stay away from the tables. Occasionally I will pass by while the husband is playing and tonight I watched as he bet 60.00 on one hand of cards and as the dealers hand shot out at the final drop of the cards and raked the 60.00 to his side of the table, I found myself gasping a bit as I escaped from being a witness to any more. Watching him play is nerve wracking for me.

I moved to the bar where the pump action coffee carafes were filled with steaming brew. Selecting a Styrofoam cup, I pumped the handle, filled my cup and started adding some creme to it. Lined up behind the carafes was a selection of chocolate mix packets. Tearing off the top of one, I poured half of it's contents into my coffee. Ah, it's almost a Starbucks moment.

As I hefted my cup to my lips and spun away from the bar, a gentlemen on the far end of 70 stood directly in my path. "What are you mixing there? Is the coffee fresh?" "Yep, fresh coffee, I said and "can I pour you a cup?"

He said "I was watching you from across the room and saw your smile." I hid a smile, glanced up at him and turned to pour him a cup. A thought occurred as I turned back to hand him his coffee. Was this nice gentlemen trolling? Making small talk, I asked him what he did for a living. I never assume, regardless of the age, that a man is retired. It's akin to seeing a woman with a large abdomen and commenting on her pregnancy. Once you have made the mistake of assuming she is pregnant to then find out you were wrong, where do you go from there in your conversation? I've stuttered and stammered my way through that embarrassment once, never to be revisited again. I catch on quickly.

My question to a person that is obviously a senior is just to ask "So, what do you do for a living?' It's at this time they mention they are retired or not. I'm sensitive to and shy away from insulting someone by assuming their age.

My new found friend had retired once from his job as an offshore cook. From St. Martinville, he was now employed again in the maintenance department for some company he mentioned but which, since my notebook wasn't available, I can't recall. It's not important. He was the proud father of 11 children among them lawyers and teachers. He said he lived alone and enjoyed being able to do just exactly as he pleased with his time. As I stood talking to him, my husband walked up. He had seen me standing by the bar. My friend hurriedly bid me goodbye and I couldn't help but wonder if he had thought I was alone at the casino.

Eventually I found a slot machine and sat down to feed it some coins. I snagged a bloody Mary from the waitress passing by. I was just killing time until the husband either lost his money or won what he thought he could. I was promised dinner paid for by his winnings. I was waiting to find out if I was going to be fed.

We ended up sipping Margaritas through dinner while listening to the young man playing his acoustic guitar and singing Van Morrison songs in a small nook of the room. The food was excellent; the guitarist/singer was a compliment to the meal.  It was a Mexican Cantina and I had my usual order of chimichangas. The husband had a special plate with rellenos, tamales, a toastado, refried beans and Spanish rice. Usually if the food sucks, the drinks, in huge quantities will make up for it. Tonight everything was perfect. It was a "two Margarita" meal.

I needed a good night. I have a chilled bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon  poured into a chilled wine glass. Purely for health reasons, I'm good for the remainder of this night.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


I use em..and you do too. Take note of the times you label something with a name when explaining something to someone. An "old woman", "the elderly" , "black man", "native American", all labels we use or you may argue, adjectives to describe. When does it change from an adjective to a label?

I have yet to decide if I'm a Republican or a Democrat, a moderate or a liberal, a believer or a non believer. I waiver. A lot.

I've made the statement "I don't believe in going to church. I don't believe in any organized religion." I've watched the faces of people that have heard me speak these words and the look of horror on some of those faces would whither a person who really gave a good damn on what they thought. They have translated my words to mean "she doesn't believe in god". I'm amused. In none of the sentences I uttered were the word"god" used once.

I don't espouse my views on religion just as I don't discuss my bedroom activities in casual conversation. When asked about my religious affilation, I'm truthful with my answer. "I don't have one." The eyebrows raise just a bit here in Catholic enriched country. Usually the conversation or inquiry is dropped. If it is pursued, my comment is "I don't believe in organized religion."
For some strange reason, the brain translates this to "she said she doesn't believe in god." and the brave will gently try to guide me away from my sure path to hell for denying god.
Please, higher power, protect me from the zealous and the idiots that pass through my life. Give me the patience to not want to snap someones silly head from their shoulders. Help me to be more tolerant of these self rightous judgemental church endowed, tithing fools.

Let me move from religion.
I've blogged before about where I was born and raised. Sometimes it's with fondness, I remember this state and old friends and family. Sometimes, I'm just plain embarrassed at some of the behavior and beliefs of what I call," ye ole rednecks from the hills" attitude.
Some of these people I'm related to and listening to them, I have to shake my head and hope my eyerolls aren't blaring forth what I think of them. I listen quietly to their conversations and the things they say. More labels and ones that causes me to cringe.  As I do with most bigoted ignorant people, I keep my distance and move to increase that distance as soon as possible. I don't miss spending my time with them. Our worlds are two different  and I'm an outsider who has spent too many years on the road. Those years have made me tolerant of differences in people of all race, color, religion or sexual orientation. Speaking of sex, which always seems to perk the conversation right up, I have this to say.
I don't really give a good hot damn what you do in your bedrooms, the back seat of your car or in your neighbors bedroom and who you are doing it with.  This is none of my business and I want to keep it that way.
For those who again use god to judge someone's sexual preferences, I have this to say. Are the gay athethists exempt? Does your god judge them too? Why would they care what your god has to say about them.

Where did this post spring from you might ask? I was observing a family conversation tonight. I was embarrassed that we share the same blood. I think they need to crawl out of the hills into civilazation and slip into 2011.

I want to apologize to my friends that don't qualify for respect simpily because of skin color or sexual preference. I promise to not  subject you to an introduction to these people I'm forced to call "family." I have more respect for you then that.

One more thing..pardon the spelling damn spell checker is on vacation.


We dodged the breeze. That breeze drove the 56 degree temperatures down to "chilled to the bone" fun and we had a few errands to do. You would think in a town that caters to the oil industry, buying work gloves would be a small chore. You would be wrong.
Across town we headed this morning to find the only place in this town of 200,000 people that sells work gloves. "Ya headed out?" the clerk asked as the request for two dozen gloves was placed. "Out" in reference to off shore and to which we had to deny. It's time to gather up the supplies in the event that hubby will he headed "out" later this week to New Mexico. Still unclear about where he will be staying, I don't know if I'll be making this trip or not but I have a suitcase that is being filled with warm clothes. 
I've topped off my iced tea tonight with an Ambien and I can feel it kicking in.

When the keyboard begins to move slightly away, my first clue that the Ambien is effective has arrived. Just for fun, I might slip out of bed and try to get to the kitchen for something to drink. It's one step forward, lean heavily to the left while picking up the right foot to move it forward. This causes me to lurch to left, do a two foot shuffle to regain my balance, stand for a moment and repeat the move. Usually it just isn't worth this much adventure to get a glass of water. Bouncing off the walls literally, I have to wonder if I'm really in need of something to drink.

Pulling the covers up against the cold, a pillow behind my knees, it's time to give up the battle to stay awake. I'm done.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Oh Man!.the Time Just Flys When You're Having Fun

I can't imagine living in Oregon or Washington state. It is raining here and that's alright with me. I like rainy days and having said that, I must qualify that statement.

The rainy days here have an end in sight. There isn't weeks and months of rain. I can understand how living day to day in a daily deluge might cause depression. I'm not there yet with our rains.
I've tuned in to movies on FX. I seldom have to worry about finding something to watch on the television as I've never been one to sit in front of a TV for long. Most of what is televised is new for me.
Reality shows make me want to scream. Cooking shows I'll watch as long as I'm not expected to be productive later. Cooking and travel combines the best of two viewings. Anthony Boudain was in Machu Pichau on this evenings show. I've never been but when he said "Cameras do not do it justice" I can understand his comment. Some places are so big and grand that seeing them in person is the only way to fully appreciate them.
A friend of mine finally marked Machu Pichau off  her bucket list. Last year at this time she made the trip and a week later the rain and land slides left towns stranded along with any tourists that didn't get out. A couple that sat at another table in a restaurant, they struck up a conversation and later worried that they hadn't made it out.
A few months later, my friend's husband was on stage performing in Memphis when someone in the crowd approached and caught his attention. Yep, it was one of the people they had met in the Andes. They had been stranded when the rains came and  made their way back down the mountain weeks later. Sometimes it really IS a small world.
 One week after my friends' return, she entered the emergency room here with a gangrenous appendix. Emergency surgery and a week's stay in the hospital, she was grateful the rains hadn't detained her in those mountains or her bucket list trip would have been at the bottom of that bucket.

and if this post wasn't bad enough at the start last night..I'm finishing it off this morning! 
I'm restless. It's time  and past time to take a trip somewhere. A call came in this afternoon for a job around Sante Fe, New Mexico. I may be packing for this one. There will be days of standby and plenty of time to head to Colorado for a few days. Getting the husband to drive to Colorado in mid winter might require I whine long and loud. Snow isn't something he misses.
He turned down a job to Germany, something I wasn't informed of in enough time to scream and shout and get tickets should I have won.

I could have been close to the Netherlands instead of sitting here in this office looking out upon our dreary rainy weather.
I'm off to finish that second pot of coffee. For some reason, I feel as though I can type really fast when I'm caffinated up; then I look up and note that my fingers have been far away from the home keys on this keyboard and it appears I have been typing in some form of code.
I'm outta here before typos creep in. I have a grocery trip to make. Last nights meal was scavaged from what could be found beneath a thin covering of mold. I told the husband mold had to be healthy. Scrape it off and we can make some penicillen later.
He shook his head and loaded a Tombstone pizza into the oven. I had the salad anyway.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

History Lessons

When history has receded so far into the past that we can't remember the details, a call is made to the eldest of my siblings.
Just last night I was reminded of my limitations on memory so today I called upon the eldest for information.
A few questions asked of him, and the ball was rolling. I made a few notes but not enough. Some day in the near future, I hope to sit down with him with paper and pencil  and record more information. Most of my aunts and uncles are gone along with my parents. Our line to the past has stretched thin and the stories are quickly becoming vague and soon will disappear. 

As my brother mentioned the places we lived and the years we were there, he listed the neighbors, many of whom just the name tickled my memory. Faces long forgotten, the names remain in my memory lost to recall on my own.
Apparently my family moved off of the grandparents property where we were born in Kanawaha County, to work a construction job at what was to become Kaiser Aluminum. This plant would become the major source of income for many of the people in the area. I've always wondered why we moved away but never once questioned.

The year was 1955 and I was six years old. The parents found a house on Sycamore Creek, a two story white farmhouse where we lived until 1958. I can remember this house, the bannister going to the second floor and also  walking down the road to the "y" where the bus picked us up. The other memories of this place was riding the horse bareback to the mulberry tree and standing on his back while we picked the fruit off the tree, the young fellow from up the road that had fallen off of  something causing a break in his elbow, his hand no longer faced in the normal direction. This wasn't a new injury and was never addressed by a doctor. I was fascinated which proably accounts for the memory in my meager store from that time.  This was a rental property and I wonder who rented to a family with seven children? These days, a dog is a liability when renting.
 Apparently, at age 9, our next move   was to Little Creek where the parents purchased a farm and in the years following, they added two more farms to their holdings.
By 1963 another move was made into the town of Ripley when the parents split. From that time until 1972, I lived in this small town. The next years of my life's whereabouts would cover most of the USA.

Occasionally someone will message me on Facebook with information on the family from their own perspective and I'm always amazed by the information I gather from these short interactions. As children we forget other people were involved in our lives. Our worlds appear narrowed down to parents and siblings with an outer aura containing friends and acquaintances  of the family.
This brother the eldest was a heavy equipment operator and worked all over the state. I remember his returns home, the trunk of his car full of iced down sodas and a jar of coins which we quickly relieved him of. He was quick to loan his car and never once complained about the sodas or the missing change.

When he had money, he would share which probably explains why with all the money he has earned, he remains negative of any savings. His home is a collection of parts and pieces. He barters and trades and is happy amongst his disarray, junk and clutter. I haven't been to his spread,(said with special emphasis on the word  "spread"), but I've had reports.

I'm thankful his spread doesn't adjoin mine. I like neat.

If anyone could claim the title of "a character" this would wrap its arms around this brother. He is but one of seven and each one, though raised in the same house, are unique in their own way. I like that word. Unique. It describes without judgement and that's how it should be.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Mostly Carrie

Carrie spent yesterday afternoon here with me and most of today. This will be a short post unless of course you would like to hear all about play time with Carrie.

She actually slept in this morning. When she did appear, her long hair concealed her face. She appeared in the room at the end of the sofa, her veil of hair a shield until she raised her face to look at me. Her little heart shaped lips were brightly coated with the reddest of my lip color. Apparently on her way to the living room, she had made a potty break.

We all want to put our best face forward and Carrie's best face is one that is heavily layered in eye makeup and lipstick. One coat is never enough for my girl. She layers it on so thick it glows and bounces forward from her pale skin like a pair of cartoon fish lips. There was a reason for that head that was dropped low when she made her appearance.
I casually commented "Oh, you've put your lipstick on early?" The waters had been tested. She wasn't going to be scolded. Grinning at me, she slipped over and climbed on the sofa for her morning hold.

The remainder of my day was spent sporadically with Carrie. This is not to say I was bored. I was just busy. Busy as only one can be when a 5 yr. old is around with no other play mates but adults. It would have been a great day for a bike ride but Carrie wasn't having any of it.
She watched me while I hemmed some pants  on the sewing machine; a new experience for her. She had questions.  When she is a  little older, she will get some basic sewing instructions along with her cooking lessons.
I'm leaving this post right here. Maybe tomorrow I'll again have a day to take the Trek for some laps. I'm past due. 

Friday, January 21, 2011

Mules and More

Bound for Ft. Knox Kentucky

I'm saving these right here. I'll leave a few labels in the event I need to do a search to find them. These were posted on a private wall in Facebook from old photos my sister has.

I cuss my memory lately but I do remember when this picture was taken, the mule being hauled away and how angry my dad was when they bought her back and her legs were skinned and mangled from that trip. Katie (the mule) left behind her mate "Joe" when she made her trip to Ft. Knox.

I haven't seen this picture for years and years though I did know it existed. The baby boy sitting on that mule is now 55 yrs old. We were stair steps in age except for the two younger ones who enjoyed a two year age difference.
I would like to say that everyone of us had chores but I would be lying. The younger two of this family enjoyed a life of leisure. "They are the babies" we heard when questioning, if we had the nerve, why they didn't gather eggs, feed pigs, milk cows or do any housework. I was smack in the middle of these seven children. Too far from the tail end of the group to enjoy their good time and too far from the top of the group to have any sway with what went on.
Play time was still plentiful. We did have chores but we also had lots of time to hang out in the hills, and play in the dusty yard. Seven children could wear out the grass, leaving only a yard where you could count the roots of the big maple tree standing off center from the house.
The old farm house had linoleum floors and standing back and looking through that house, the boards beneath those floors rippled with the years of moisture that warped them into a pattern of small waves beneath the covering. I can remember when Mom would decide to mop. She cleaned an area, then placed newspapers on the floor and we had to sit in that cleaned area while she finished mopping the remaining floor and the other rooms.
The living room walls were wall papered. The old paper was never removed. A new layer was applied over the old. I still remember a room full of huge pink roses or later, a room of huge blue roses. Martha Stewart wasn't stopping by this little country house nor was Good Housekeeping.
A door led to an open stairwell. The upper floor was one large room boasting a chimney pipe sprouting from the wood stove below. This room was divided in half by consent only; the boys on one side and the girls on the other side.
A tin roof to the porch below jutted out from the bedroom windows and  provided access to the maple tree. The tin roof could be used on hot humid nights to escape to the outside. A/C was not even an idea back then and heat in the winter in this part of the house was scarce.

I don't remember not one of these 7 children uttering any words of envy at what others their age enjoyed.
The evenings were spent over a game of "pick up sticks" or "jacks". My mother loved playing these games with her children. A pencil and crude drawings of houses and fish, I can still remember her art.
We had a set of encyclopedias for reading and copies of Modern Romance magazines full of stories of women and their failed romances. I read what was available and when a library became accessible to me, a whole world past the Modern Romance mags blossomed like a flower opening to the sun. I could gorge on books. I could check out six books by just signing the library card and having the return date stamped on the card and the envelope attached to the back inside cover. Roaming through the aisles of books that towered above my head, I inhaled the smell of leather, old paper and the oiled floors I stood on.  I miss the old libraries.

I lived for a time in Alpine Junction, Wyoming.  It was just for a summer and this little junction town just down the canyon from Jackson Hole was home to a travel trailer park with it's one lone grocery/supply store. As you entered this little store, a box sat on the floor with paperback books. There wasn't a library card to sign. You selected your books and returned them when you were finished. You could add your old books to the collection for others to enjoy.

The libraries with their card catalogs are now a part of history. Microfilm, I'm assuming, has went the way of library cards with everything now scanned to digital. 
I can remember when I discovered the Internet. There are kids now that have never known a life without it. I can't imagine my life without Internet access. I'm hooked. I can always find something to read on the 'net. It doesn't have the ambiance of the old libraries but it's convenience counts for a lot.

Gerbils and Violations

The room is open and along came the crowd. Our little group consists of around 8 people.  I haven't actually done a head count and usually they aren't all there at the same time.
Ya just never know what the conversation will be about and where it will skip to once started. The cast of characters are familiar to each other.
I think it was T that first mentioned gerbils. I'll use initials to protect the not so innocents. I assumed I knew what he was talking about and as I watched the chat that followed, C confirmed what I had assumed.

Finally it dawned upon E that something was being discussed that she hadn't heard about and while comments were being bounced around the room, we instructed E to do a Google search for enlightenment. D was her usual quiet self for a while.  I left the room but went to the private wall that belongs to this group and posted a message. I was signing out of FB after making this comment,  or at least that was my intention. 

Soon messages were being posted in reply to mine and 300 messages later I'm still on FB. Even D was posting comments that caused a grin and giggle.
 The gerbil conversation ended around post number 75. The following comments were benign. Much laughter was going on during these posts. Witty and clever, we traded comments for the next hour or so. Many times I was laughing silently at some of the banter. M made a comment that a child with her was watching her strangely as she laughed loudly at the computer screen. It was just that sort of night and unless you have participated in one of these activities, this may sound a bit strange.
 I received a violation notice. Not once but three times. I was never notified what I had violated but I was warned that my Facebook account was in jeopardy of being locked down. Was it the gerbils? Was it the 300 comments? 

I wasn't taking any chances. I stopped posting and notified everyone and back to the chat room we went while the moderator of the private wall started erasing all those comments.

While E was busy erasing the comments, we were all gathered in the chat room making comments about what we thought had happened. I felt as though we were hiding out. My hand had been smacked by the gremlins at Facebook. The Facebook police were on patrol and I was on probation. 

How can something so non threatening as typing messages on a message board drag me into being threatened with exile. I promise I'll behave. 

Dear Facebook,
I would like to be more personal in my address to you but I'm clueless as to who I would address this to. I'm writing to request a rule book. I seem to have violated one of them but am unclear as to which one it was. If I lose my Facebook account,  my evenings will be spent watching some reality show. I would rather chop off my toes one by one then have to resort to reality TV.
My carefree post of status updates are now censored which hampers any witty remarks I might have contributed.
Please contact me at 1-800-WildFingers with advice on how to stay a part of your Facebook family. I don't want to be the first banned one among my friends.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Say Goodnight Doris

I planted three roses yesterday. One is to replace the poor pitiful looking yellow hibiscus that became a victim of the latest hard freeze we had here last week.
This morning I'm wrapped in a blanket and I can hear the furnace doing it's job. I waved my hand out the door to confirm and yeah, it's cold out there. I won't base my dressing on that one temperature check, after all, it's early and the sun hasn't  moved into view yet.

I'm watching a special on the Mayan culture and predictions for our future and, well, it don't look good folks.  I might have to delve deeper into this subject. What to pack?  It's based on a 53 yr cycle and the  5th cycle is among us now; 1973 through Dec. 21, 2012.  I'll have to check my fingers and toes and do some ciphering.
I've lived long enough now to have memories of other doomsday prophecies; the Hale-Bob comet, the Jim Jones group, the group in Texas? Sadly, I've forgotten that leader's name and a quick search would get it for me but you know where I'm going with this. 
I'll be watching closely for folks building an escape route or succumbing to the inevitable and grouping together for some more purple kool aid. 
I'll be very careful of any groups I join in the coming year.
The day warmed up and I climbed aboard my bike for an afternoon ride. I wasn't in a hurry and the miles I rode were what got done today. I'm way off my usual distances on that bike and I didn't try to catch up, but rode for the feeling of being out in the sun and moving along. I made it to the daughter's house and stopped to say a quick hi to her and Carrie and I was off again. The next stop was a mile away and at Pat's for another hello. 
The night rolled along and eventually I ended up in the group FB chat room with the usual crowd. They zip into the room and back out again distracted by what is going on in their homes or on the net.  Stories are shared and laugher via many "lol's are shared. Silence dominates this little room. Voices are mute while nimble fingers dance across the keyboard to drop words and sentences into this little private area of the web. Friends from years ago are members and with an old history, some from child hood, they spin their tales both from times shared together to the years traveled seperate.
I smile as I watch the interchange, sometimes typing rapidly and sometimes to just observe, I try to stop in every evening when they gather. We all have a connection to each other. The main connection is the little town of Ripley, WV.  It's "hometown time" and a fun place to spend an hour or two or minutes if that is all you have to spare.
Say goodnight Doris. (an inside joke understood by the group) 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

You Look Marvaaaaaaaaalous Darlin

I'm going to sound bitter and harsh...I know that before I even start this blog. I watched the Golden Globes last night. The next day, friends mentioned it to me and exclaimed "Did you see.......... and didn't she look great?"
Sprayed on cosmetics, false eyelashes, hair extensions,  plastic boobs, liposuction and Spanks, and there you have it. They looked wonderful.

They are dressed and paraded, their faces and bodies the epitome of the phase "their stock in trade."  I can't begin to imagine how any of these people could engage in a life known by the majority of the population as normal. To be targeted with cameras and fans and celebrity reporters losing all privacy must be  an intolerable way of living one's life. Maybe money and fame pays enough for what they trade.

I've always thought those big sunglasses were for disguise. I've changed my mind on that. I'm thinking they wear them to bed at night so they don't have to face that morning mirror without their makeup.  I think a facelift is a marvelous thing; I think more then one and the only thing that moves on your face is the lips.  To compete in "the business" it's a requirement, this maintence. Isn't that what we demand of them. Every youthful? Aging is taboo in our society. Who wants to see Betty White in a short skirt when Angelina Jolie is available.
I may think this about the movie stars but I would never gather them in a room and tell them this in front of crowds and cameras.  Ricky Gervais on the other hand would.
I understand that a comedian has his craft to practice but doing it while that person is sitting there with the cameras sweeping back and forth over them while Mr.Gervais skewers them on a personal level left me squirming. Oh, yeah. I laughed but at the same time, felt some sympathy for those he trashed. The stars may be egotiscal giants but  their base feelings, I feel, are not very different then ours.
To Bruce Willis, he said on introduction "and here is Ashton Kuchers father", and to Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp  "nobody has gone to see The Tourist" (their new movie). This doesn't cover all the remarks he made. I found it more then rude. Reactions are mixed. I wonder at the ones that thought this was acceptable. They weren't singled out. This year he promised to be more outrageous then last year and he made good on that promise. 

Will he be hosting next year? Do we really envy those stars that we enjoy being a party to this cruelty? I, for one, would prefer to see some gentle teasing and a whole lot less attacks for a laugh, uneasy as  that laughter was.

Monday, January 17, 2011

To Bike or Not

It's a party here. I now have all the VCR movies lined up to the edge of the shelf. The DVDs on the shelf above are edged with their shelf also. This may seem unimportant to some, but neatness counts and the shelves are now neat. (I need a life)
Dust has been rearranged, pictures wiped off and floors vacuumed and mopped. From room to room, I've traveled with my dust cloth and Windex.  Broken or unused items discarded, the extra bedrooms are neat and fresh.
It's a spring like day and a spring like cleaning in progress. 
The sun pops out from behind a cloud, or more correctly, the clouds skim past the sun and for a few minutes the shower of sunlight warms. Too soon another cloud moves into the sun's path and a chill is felt. As the afternoon wears on, the temperatures drop and the possibility of a bike ride has past. Maybe tomorrow.
Eventually the smell of garlic roils in from the kitchen. The husband is happily back at the stove and enjoying himself. 
Huge meatballs  crowd a huge skillet, a sauce bubbles in a pot and the pasta has been dropped into boiling water. A salad and a  chilled Merlot will be served with dinner. It's nice to have a husband that enjoys cooking.  
My part in all this is the cleanup which I gladly do.  Bon Appetit!  

The Excitement Is Almost too Much

I seriously feel the need to move. Not just forward or sideways nor up and down. Move, as in take a trip some where. Staying home must have it's strong points but right now I'm not inclined to search those out.
I did not watch TV today but it was tuned to CNN. I don't count CNN as entertainment but as informative, somewhat. While I'm sitting here bored, I watch the flood waters sweeping away houses in parts of the world I've never visited. Maybe boredom is not the worst thing to suffer today?
A week has passed since the crazed gunman performed his shootout in Tucson, Az. I tend to agree with this blogger, One Bloggers' View.

 I made it a point to stay away from anything that related even mildly to pigskin. If someone had offered me cracklins I would have turned my nose up and politely refused. Later I would find myself riffling through the web to see the final scores. I shoulda watched the games?
After a while, watching football is like walking into a store packed from floor to ceiling and wall to wall with merchandise. Too much too see, I'm overwhelmed and after walking out of that store, I can't tell you a thing that was in there.
I limit myself to the Saints, LSU and sometimes WVU and Steelers. I imagine my brain as a small shelf. Crowding it too much just shoves stuff back to the edge where it falls off into an abyss never to be recollected again. I try to be selective on what I place on that shelf.

I stayed off the computer too. Carrie made her appearance here and I vowed to spend time with her. Before she arrived, I assembled all the stuff together on the kitchen counter for a pineapple upside down cake. Eggs, oil, butter, brown sugar, pineapple and of course the cake mix (you didn't really think this was a "from scratch" project did ya?)

I measured and Carrie mixed. I pulled the stems off the maraschino cherries and let her place them on the sugar and butter mixture. I wanted to tell her exactly where to place them. I stopped and told myself.."it's just a cake, let her put them where she wants."

While the cake baked, Carrie bathed. Bathing leads to shampooing hair and Carrie has a lot of that. The part where it gets iffy is when it comes time to comb and brush all that hair out. I slather it with conditioner after her shampoo, then a "leave in" conditioner is sprayed on  during the comb out. Not an ouch was heard today. I'm gettin better at the "ouchless" part.

I sent most of the cake home with Carrie's mom when she came to pick her up. It wasn't the eating of the cake that interested Carrie but the making of it. She is a joy to teach. She pays close attention to her lessons and when unclear, she questions.

I've ended my day with watching the Golden Globe Awards and I didn't even finish that. A brother phoned so we spent a while chatting. A soft sprinkle of rain has visited as forecast; it has been a soft sorta day. 
That's my Sunday.  

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Football Plans

I've sworn off watching football for the remainder of the season.  I then made a liar out of myself by watching the Steelers and the Ravens game this evening. Next up was the Packers and the Falcons.

I grabbed my cell phone and moved away from the television.
Next season I've already decided to change my method of choosing between two teams competing.

My plan is as follows.
1. Check out the quarterback on each team and     
    choose the dark haired one. I've always been     a sucker for dark haired men.
2. The pants. Check out the receivers and the running backs. Tighest pants wins.
3. Talent. If all else fails.

I think this will work for me. Talent will be the least of my worries. I'll stave off disappointment in expecting the players with the best stats to perform up to standard. I'll let you know how this works out for me.
See ya at the Superbowl.

Friday, January 14, 2011


I must pace myself a little better. The ole heart can't take all this racin around from one little phone call.

That one call inspires in me a pace that is seldom seen and only  occurs when I'm facing the husband's arrival home after being gone for days on his job.
It's not that I'm filled with any sort of fear. It's more a feeling of embarrassment. I stay home. He goes to work. Most of the time he is either in the cold or the heat, wearing the odor of diesel and splattered with mud; sleep deprived, and hungry. The least I could do is vacuum.
As soon as that white Dodge backs out of the driveway and heads out of town, I emulate a teenager who has the house to himself while his parents are out of town for the weekend.

No parties are thrown here. That would take entirely too much effort. I reach a peak speed of minus something and endeavor to stay there until that phone call announcing his return. I look around at the things I have let slide. A jacket thrown over a chair in the living room, a couple pairs of shoes beneath the coffee table, dishes in the sink, a stack of folded laundry on the kitchen counter, it's not what would be considered a big mess. It's not my usual self. I still consider myself a tidy person. I race around from room to room gathering up a shirt here, hanging up a pair of jeans, and pulling the sheets tight on the bed. It's the look of one person in relaxed mode, the state of this house. That one ring of the phone sets my sneakers moving. There is always enough time to right all the little untidy areas, soak a dish cloth in Pine sol and let the room fill with the smell of fresh scrubbed floors. If time allows, I won't have to do the dish towel thing but will actually use a mop on the floor.
It becomes a real test of skill when you add yard work to the housecleaning. I'm popping wheelies on the lawn tractor as it leaves the shed to get the grass mowed. Winter is less stressful for me. My main focus is housework. The lawn is dormant in the winter and for this I'm grateful.
A pot of navy beans seasoned with bacon simmered on the stove and a black iron skillet held golden yellow cornbread.

A quick shower, lipstick, eye liner, sweater and a pair of jeans and a smile, I stepped out onto the carport at the sound of the white Dodge's engine.
"Hi honey. Welcome home." 

Published in Spite of

The silver topped laptop sits beside the bed on the lamp stand. Another laptop is on the lamp table beside the sofa in the living room.

Older and slower, the silver topped one is used on occasion and last night was an occasion. I flipped open the lid and instead of the Windows logo appearing, an error message appeared. It was a load error with instructions to strike any key to continue. I did that and it didn't continue. Rebooting didn't help and the recovery disc for this laptop is long lost or misplaced.
I slapped down the lid and ignored it until tonight. Once again I flipped open the lid and the same error message appeared. Unable to get it into safe mode, I did an "Alt, Cntrl, Delete". Once wasn't enough. Sitting here peering at the TV, I continued to tap the same keys and low and behold, the computer genie kicked it off and the Windows logo lit up the screen. I'm back in business.
Another chilly day here so I found some socks and moved into sneakers instead of sandals and headed out. I had errands to run, places to go, people to see. I didn't really have people to see. I could have visited some friends but I didn't. It was one of those days that would have been better spent as I did yesterday which was home doing nothing. 
I'm not into blogging my "do nothing" days. I peek out the back door at my bike and wonder when I will be back riding. I think my energy level is in the dumps because I'm not getting any exercise on it. 
I'm saving this to draft. Too boring to publish. Should some thing really exciting happen, I'll tag it onto the end of this with a heading warning you of the boring paragraph's you will have to navigate to get to the juicy part.
I'm done for now.  

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

King Cakes

It's that time of year once again when we can blame our drunken debauchery on Jesus. It's a party!

King Cakes are every where. The braided sweet bread, decorated with sugar which has been dyed gold, green and purple are the ones I refuse to eat. I have taste. I also reason if I'm going to consume enough calories to blow a diet for the next year and all starting in January, I'll indulge in the best. Meche's Donuts is my favorite place for the King Cake. Gooey chocolate, cream cheese filled goodness. Heaven disguised as a King Cake and I'm in.
I haven't lost all control yet but I know it's coming. One day I'll visit Meche's and select a Turtle King Cake. As soon as I bury my face in a hunk of it, the craving satisfied, I'll pack the remainder up and make a donation, usually at the daughters' house.

As Carrie and I breezed through the neighborhood today, we oohed and ahhhed over the Mardi Gras decorated doors. The purple, gold and green has replaced the Christmas decorations and tomorrow I'll follow suit. Hobby Lobby, here I come.

Pictures to follow.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Noah's Gumbo

A big chill means a big bowl of Gumbo.
I sneaked out of bed and down the hall to curl up on the sofa and have some quiet time. Carrie will discover that I have fled and will soon be hunting for me so I'll quickly dial the TV to CNN, sip my coffee and turn up the thermostat to heat some of this cold air.
I can hear the lawn mowers roaring as even in this chilled morning, lawns are being tended.
I don't think there is ever a break here in lawn work. Oh, I don't do any during these months. At best, I'm a lazy gardener. I can see lawn bags bursting at the seams stacked beside the neighbors mail box where the city truck will pass and carry it away. Maybe there is a dead body inside and maybe that's the reason I don't have lawn bags beside my mailbox. I don't have any bodies to dispose of. I would prefer this line of thinking on my part then to question whether I should be in the back yard now bagging up leafs and debris.

The hours passed, a couple of them, before Carrie appeared in the hallway, her knuckles dug into her face trying to erase the sleep from her eyes. A chocholate milk later and an hour of cartoons and she was ready for breakfast.  I asked her what she wanted, fully expecting her to mention something like cereal. "Gumbo" she said. 
"Noah's" I said. Noah's is a little diner that popped up here about a year ago. Out of the way and off the tourist paths, Noah's caters to the locals; the lunch crowd of business men and women. Firefighters, police officers, hospital employees and farmers who are in town on errands. 
The floors are concrete and a large open room with a buffet set up is visible as you enter through the front door.
 A steam table displays the specials of the day. Smothered chicken, pork chops, smothered steak, jambalaya, turnip greens, smothered potatoes, smothered cabbage, cornbread dressing, black eye peas and red beans and rice spread down the steam table where the ladies ladle up your requests. Gumbo is served every day, winter and summer. 
A bowl of Gumbo is $7.00. I find this a bit expensive for a bowl of chicken, sausage and rice.
Carrie enjoyed it. We called her mother and when she found we were at Noah's and she hadn't been invited, she placed an order to go. 
Carrie finished her brunch and we picked up the smothered chicken "to go" order and headed home. April phoned later raving about the food.  
If you should ever be passing through Lafayette, dial in "Noah's" on your GPS and eat some real native home cooking. It's worth the drive.

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Monday, January 10, 2011

BCS Champs...Auburn!

Carrie and I are hanging out together tonight. I warned her when she called and wanted to spend the night, a ball game would be watched.
She dumped her markers out on the coffee table, a rainbow of colors rolled randomly around her coloring book. I watched as she selected the picture we would be coloring.
Carrie likes to direct. I get directed on what part of the picture is mine to color and what colors I am to use. Carrie doesn't recognize free will. It's her way or her way.
The Ducks and the Tigers were battling it out on the field. Someone reading this at a later date might find it odd to match ducks and tigers in competition. For future reference, in one word; football.
No more sports for me until the Superbowl game. I'm more then full of anything involving a pigskin.
Some where between quarters, Carrie was speed rinsed after a sudsing, hair shampooed and into bed. Between moments of Wow Wow Wubsy on Nickelodeon, she would allow me to flip over to the ball game and watch for a few minutes. I did get to see the last three minutes of that game and a little of the celebration afterwards.

It's lights out for both of us. I'm ready; Carrie is not. I'm done.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

It's Sunday, It's Early, I Should be Asleep

There is  a chill in the air but I really expected it to be much worse this morning. It's Sunday and I'm not watching any football games today. I'm not that dedicated to it and since LSU played their bowl game and my Saints did what ever they did last night, which wasn't a lot, and were trounced soundly by the Seahawks, I'm done. I'm done until Monday night when the college championship game is played. I'll watch that one and root for Auburn.

What am I doing up at 0300? I moved to a guest room and flipped on the television. My thinking was watching TV would lull me back to sleep for a few more hours. After a few minutes, I gave that up also and moved to the sofa. Same plan, different area.
Nope, that didn't work either so I made my way to the kitchen and brewed a pot of coffee and that's where this post finds me.
In a few hours, the husband will be stirring around and if the client doesn't phone, he will be watching football games today. I won't. If rain isn't cluttering up the landscape, I intend to go exploring.

I've been toying with the idea of going back to school. It won't be classes directed toward a degree but classes I want to take based purely on interest. It appears that the University here has taken a 77% cut in funding in the past few years. Some departments have been totally eliminated. I can still deal with that but it's the parking that causes me to hesitate. A parking permit is 200.00. I may only want to take two classes per semester. My other option is to park off campus and wait for the shuttle that runs every hour. If it works out that way, I'll instead buy a bike rack for my car, park off campus and ride my bike to campus.  

Ah, too much to consider. Maybe I'm too lazy to consider the stress, the schedules and finally the cost.
I'll do a little research before I commit to anything.

I think I'll kill the lights and the TV and try to catch a couple more hours of sleep.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

One, Two and Three

Just some random thoughts and observations. You don't have to even take notes on this. They won't be a test next week on any of the shared information. Relax.

I was standing in the check out line at Walmart this morning. Alone. The husband had left the building to stroll to the north 40 to retrieve his truck. He parks there so the Walmart crowd will miss the opportunity to beat the doors in on his truck with their doors.

The couple standing behind me had loaded their purchases onto the conveyor belt. Two packages of turkey necks  lay among their other packages and I couldn't help asking "Say, are you guys cooking gumbo?" With a smile, she said "No, we're going crabbin."  "Crabbing?" I asked and she replied "Bait."

I smiled at them and moved along. Must be a local thing.
Observation number 2 and you might be well aware of this one.
If you hold down the "CTRL" and the  "+" key at the same time, your text size increases per times you press those keys. Likewise, pressing the "CTRL" and the "-" sign at the same time will decrease the size of your text. A quick function to use when the page print is too small.
Observation #3. Don't dust. The new stuff looks exactly like the old stuff so why rid yourself of it and go with new?
That's three and that's all I've got for you today.

I'm watching the Saints and it doesn't look good right now. If they have to lose, the least they could do is lose to a team with a great winning season. The Seahawks haven't had a winning season so it is especially aggravating to watch them falter.

I'm not complaining but making another observation. It's about the weather. My bike riding regimen is not regimented. The weather is not complying. Cold windy days without rain, or cold rainy days are too numerous of late. The following week will be more of the same.
I need to join a gym. I need a nap and it would be nice to win the lottery.
I'm done.